PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA -- Michael Nardi, a 6-2, 165 pound point guard from Avenel, NJ, led his St. Patrick's High School of Elizabeth, NJ, to a 52-47 victory over DeMatha Catholic H.S. from Hyattsville, MD, and the title in the inaugural High School National Championship at the Penn Palestra Sunday afternoon.
Nardi, who was held scoreless in the first quarter, led the Celtics with 21 points, four rebounds, three assists and one steal. The rising senior was named the Championship MVP.
Nardi took the game in hand in the second half. His first score of the half (after six misses, a couple on excellent drives where the ball refused to drop into the basket) gave St. Pat's a 37-36 lead going into the final stanza. There Nardi tallied 12 points including six-for six from the foul line in the last 25 seconds to seal the victory.
"I was glad to get a chance at the end of the game," he said. "I'm the point guard and that's my job. It was great to get this title."
Nardi said he plans to make a decision on a college before his senior season gets underway. There are seven schools on his list, all who have offered scholarships to RivalHoops.com's No. 39 player: North Carolina State, Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Villanova, Seton Hall, Rutgers and Stanford.
Nardi is an excellent student. He "slipped" from number one in his class last year. "I'm now second or third," he said. He scored 880 on the SAT the first time he took the required test and plans to re-take the exam.
Helping to the Celtics to the win was 5-10, 150 pound rising senior guard Jason Patterson with 11 points while 6-8, 260 pound rising freshman center Derek Caracter pulled down eight rebounds. The DeMatha Stags were led by 6-9, 214 rising senior big forward Steve Danley with 10 points, 13 rebounds, three steals and one block. Rising sophomore forward Travis Ivey had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The tournament was sponsored and organized by AND 1 Basketball and the Hoop Group. Regionals were held in eight cities with the regional champions coming to Philadelphia for a three-game tournament to determine the national champion. The game will be televised this Saturday, July 20th by Fox Sports Net.